Explore the headwaters of this famous river

Upper Colorado River

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upper colorado river overview

Upper Colorado River White Water Rafting Description:

Beginning its long journey high in Rocky Mountain National Park the upper Colorado River makes its way through the north-central part of the state. Flowing through meadows, valleys, and canyons, the river offers up everything from scenic floating opportunities to heart-pounding class V rapids challenging even the most experienced boaters.

• Difficulty: Class I-IV (What does this mean?)
• Season: May – August

High in Rocky Mountain National Park, the Rockies give birth to the legendary Colorado River. Downstream of the national park, the river grows clear and gently flowing. Our Colorado rafting trips are friendly and inviting to people of all ages. The character of the landscape along the Upper Colorado River varies from natural to rural where scenery includes ranch meadows, valleys, steep slopes and rugged cliffs.

Here, the Colorado River is a mild introduction to white water rafting for families with small children, senior citizens, or folks looking for a lazy Colorado vacation. Colorado rafting trips can be perfect for many groups looking for a scenic raft float.

Many people looking for serious white water mistakenly assume the Colorado River is the place to go for white water rafting in Colorado. Sections of the Colorado River in Utah and Arizona offer big white water rafting, but if you are looking for big excitement here in Colorado, consider checking out the Arkansas River, just south of this gentle jewel of a river.

We offer Full Day and 2 Day Colorado River rafting trips. We require a minimum group size of 10 people to start a new full day Upper Colorado River white water rafting trip. 2 day trips can be started on almost any date with a minimum of just four people. Wilderness Aware is a specialist in Multi Day Whitewater Rafting Trips on many Colorado Rivers.

The Upper Colorado River is located about 25 miles north of Vail, and just south of the town of Kremmling . It is convenient to all the Summit County and I-70 corridor Ski Areas of Keystone, Breckenridge, and Vail.

Recommended Rafting Trips on the Upper Colorado River:


Little Gore Canyon Full Day Trip

Experience classic Colorado beauty on this mild water float on the Upper Colorado River. Located just north of Breckenridge and Silverthorne near Kremmling, Colorado, this trip is great for young kids ages 4+ as well as adults of all skill levels. Raft during the summer from late May-Labor Day. This is a great trip for family groups!

Price : $109

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Little Gore Canyon 2 Day Trip

Raft the mellow, warm water of the Upper Colorado River on this fantastic two day adventure. Trips depart near Kremmling, Colorado, tucked into the Colorado high country just north of Breckenridge and Silverthorne. This float trip is available late May-Labor Day and is great for young kids ages 4+ as well as adults of all skill levels.

Price : $409

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upper colorado river sections

Upper Colorado River Sections

Upper Colorado River Rafting Sections:

Gore Canyon
Class IV-V
Well known for its steep and technical drops, Gore Canyon is demanding and exhilarating. Wilderness Aware does not offer this section due to it’s technical nature. See the resources drop down for more info.

Little Gore Canyon
Class II-III
Gentle and mild stretch of river with abundant wildlife, fossilized dinosaur tracks and natural hot springs.

Lower Gore Canyon
Class II-III
Long section of gentling flowing water and the occasional mild rapid. Plenty of access provides the opportunity to tailor any length of trip. No commercial outfitters run this section; self-guided only.

Dotsero
Class II
Short section of mild white water where the Colorado joins 1-70 at Dotsero. No commercial outfitters run this section; self-guided only.

Glenwood Canyon
Class II-IV
Comprised of three distinct sections, Glenwood Canyon is a popular section packed with past-paced, demanding rapids and milder, bouncy white water. Wilderness Aware does not offer this section due to it’s location. See the resources drop down for more info.

South Canyon
Class II-III
Beginning in heart of Glenwood Springs, the South Canyon is an easygoing section of moderate white water. No commercial outfitters run this section; self-guided only.

Self-Guided

Information for Upper Colorado River Self-Guided Boaters:

Gore & Little Gore Canyons

The Upper Colorado River (Gore and Little Gore Canyons) are managed by the Bureau of Land Management out of Kremmling, CO.

  • Boating Permit Required: NO
  • Permit Details: No fee of any kind is required to float the river, but you do need to buy a pass to use the BLM managed and private access sites.
  • River Manager: U.S Bureau of Land Management – Kremmling Field Office
    2103 E. Park Avenue, Po Box 68, Kremmling, CO 80459
    970.724.3000 ~ www.blm.gov/co/st/en/fo/kfo.html

Lower Gore, Dotsero & South Canyon

The Upper Colorado River (Lower Gore, Dotsero and South Canyon) are managed by the Bureau of Land Management out of Silt, CO.

  • Boating Permit Required: NO
  • Permit Details: No fee of any kind is required to float the river, but you do need to buy a pass to use the BLM managed and private access sites.
  • River Manager: U.S Bureau of Land Management – Colorado River Valley Field Office
    2300 River Frontage Road, Silt, CO 81652
    970.876.9000 ~ www.blm.gov/co/st/en/fo/crvfo.html

Glenwood Canyon

The Upper Colorado River through Glenwood Canyon is in the White River National Forest and is managed by U.S. Forest Service.

  • Boating Permit Required: NO
  • Permit Details: No fee of any kind is required to float the river within the National Forest on public lands.
  • River Manager: US Forest Service – Eagle-Holy Cross Ranger District
    125 West 5th Street, Po Box 720, Eagle, CO 81631
    970.328.6388 ~ www.fs.usda.gov/main/whiteriver

Shuttles:
If shuttle service is available, information is listed under the specific section page.

Resources

Directions

Directions to the
Colorado River

Our Colorado River trips meet at Pumphouse Recreation area near Kremmling, CO.

Packing List

Packing List and

Pre-Trip Information

Complete lists of what to bring, what we provide, where to meet, policies, rental costs and info.

Additional Upper Colorado River Outfitters:

Trip Lengths:
Gore Canyon
Outfitter:
Timberline Tours
Learn More:
timberlinetours.com; 800.831.1414

Trip Lengths:
1/2 & Full Day (Glenwood Canyon)
Outfitter:
Whitewater Rafting LLC
Learn More:
www.coloradowhitewaterrafting.com; 800.993.7238

reviews

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What people are saying

  • Lydia filled us with confidence. She was skilled and knowledgeable and explained each set of rapids so we knew what to expect. She was great company and we had the best experience. She was brilliant.

    Dwight W. Rafter
  • I cannot wait to come back! Also loved how funny all the guides were. It was the most I’ve seen my sister laugh in a long time! Thank you so much for this amazing experience.

    Lexi R. Rafter
  • I spent several days researching various rafting options and after speaking w/your team was sold. We were not disappointed-the trip is spectacular and our guide Sean was informative, lively professional and entertaining.

    Lauren C. Rafter

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Our 2018 rafting season in Colorado has come to an end. Take a peek at the unique trips we offer on Arizona's Salt River during March, April and early May! Or get a jump on next summer's plans - it's never too early to book!
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